And now, the moment for which you all have been waiting so fervently (ahem), my top ten films of the year. As should go without saying, this is my top ten right now - things can change over time. For example, I included "Avatar" at number 5 when I first made my list for last year, but then when I revisited recently it didn't even make the top ten. So! Anyway. Enough babble, on with the list!
10. How to Train Your Dragon
Ever since I first fell in love with this surprising movie when I first saw it, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. Its story line may be a bit cliche, sure, but it still manages to defy convention nonetheless. It's so sensitive and I fell in love with it despite its imperfections. And that score? It's just so wonderful. And, it's my current ringtone. Hahaha
9. Animal Kingdom
You all should know by now how much I adore Jacki Weaver, but there's more to this film than just her. It's masterfully written, frightening and intense and yet there's this heart to it all - a bizarre, slightly dysfunctional heart, but it's there nonetheless. The performances from the rest of the cast are great and Michod's subtle directorial work leaves you wanting more and more.
I'll freely admit that its off putting subject matter is what's keeping this film from being higher on the list, but there is absolutely no denying how bizarrely brilliant it is. It's fascinatingly shot, with perfectly mysterious performances from the entire cast - and while so many movies force messages with cliches and manipulation "Dogtooth" tackles so many themes and lets the screenplay speak for itself. Shocking, but fascinating.
This movie should have been just another crime drama. Instead, it's a provocative, tense, fascinating and often beautiful portrait of a mother's unyielding love for her son. Bong Joon-Ho plots every frame with so much detail and thought, allowing Kim Hye-Ja to work her wonders.
6. True Grit
From the opening shot to the closing narration, "True Grit" is a surprisingly riveting tale that deals perfectly with the implications of redemption. The Coen Brothers totally turn what could have been an ordinary western into an extraordinary journey told through the eyes of a young fourteen year old girl. Surprisingly funny and extraordinarily grandiose, it's just another amazing movie from the Coens.
5. 127 Hours
Okay, Danny Boyle's sometimes erratic choices may not have always been good choices, but the overall film ends up being such a success that it's possible to overlook the mistakes - and then some. No film affected me as emotionally as "127 Hours" did - James Franco's fantastic performance takes the viewer on such a powerful journey. Inspiring and emotional, the power of this film cannot be understated.
4. Rabbit Hole
"Rabbit Hole" isn't necessarily sad - more like poignant and seeing grief treated in such a way is so refreshing and, ultimately affecting. The myriad of great performances from Kidman, Eckhart, Teller, Weist and Oh enhance the already gorgeous script, which is all put together by the tender hand of John Cameron Mitchell. This film never forces you to feel, it just allows itself to be so real that you can't help but be devastated, and yet, filled with hope.
3. Black Swan
My excitement for this film went down a wee bit since I first saw it (on opening day which is something I will be eternally proud of) but I still adore it so. Watching it was such a thrill ride that after I left the theater I was just speechless. It's scary, it's gorgeous, and it's thought provoking, featuring a career-best performance from Portman...and honestly, everyone else in the cast too. As the woman behind me in the theater put it, "WHAT THE HELLLLL WAS THAT?!", in the good way of course.
2. The Social Network
I'd be hard pressed to find as intelligent a film as "The Social Network" that also has such an emotional core. To quote everybody in the world, it's not about Facebook, it's about friendship. Fincher's direction brilliantly brings together such fantastic technical achievments (the score! the cinematography!) and though this may not win Best Picture tomorrow night, this will be the film that stands the test of time.
1. Scott Pilgrim Vs the World
Okay. It may not be the genius instant-classic that "The Social Network" is, nor is it perhaps the beautiful masterpiece that "Black Swan" is, but I did not fall in lesbians so hard with any film as hard as I fell for "Scott Pilgrim". My nerdier side loved the video game references and the 8-bit soundtrack but my intelligent side adored the perfect acting and creative filmmaking style. Behind all of the amazing visual effects it's still just a story of a rather imperfect relationship and what we all go through to be with the ones we love, and it's just so perfect. I simply couldn't not call it my favorite of the year.
Ah, so there you have it everyone! My favorites. I hope you've all enjoyed the Golden Corneas - what did you think of my choices? Surprised? Angry? Sad? The comment box is like a therapy session - all feelings welcome without judgment so sound off below!